Jefferson a socialist? Hogwash.

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From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Sat Nov 18 2000 - 14:11:12 PST

Sophie Maddox wrote:

> Jeff Bone <> wrote:
> >
> > Phphphphphphttttttt! I can't find anything in my "Portable Thomas
> Jefferson"
> > to support anything close to that contention.
> >
> >
> > jb
> It could be you have the condensed version. Maybe you didn't look hard
> enough or have your interruption or you take the word too literally and
> what it has developed into by today's standards. It can cover many things
> in many degrees and ways. Jefferson advocated a decentralized agrarian
> republic. He recognized the value of a strong central government in
> foreign relations, but he did not want it strong in other respects.
> Jefferson feared tyranny and thought in terms of freedom. Jefferson once
> said "I am not a friend to a very energetic government." Then you have
> Alexander Hamilton who feared anarchy and thought in terms of order.
> Hamilton sought a strong central government acting in the interests of
> commerce and industry. Hamilton devised a plan for a national bank with
> branches all over the country. Jefferson opposed and argued that the
> Constitution expressly enumerates all the powers belonging to the federal
> government and reserves all other powers to the states. Nowhere was it
> empowered to set up a bank.

And all of that adds up to socialism how, exactly? Just the opposite, I'd

> At that time we needed both influences. We were lucky that we had both
> men and could, in time, fuse and reconcile their philosophies. IMHO in
> modern terminology Jefferson could be called a socialist.

Totally puzzled. I couldn't agree less. Here are the characteristics I'm
talking about when I say "socialism:" large, centralized, bureaucratic
gov't; gov't regulation and control of broad horizontal industries;
concerted effort on the part of the the gov't to redistribute economic utility
for "the good of the people"; significant interference in or nonexistance of
key competitive free markets; public ownership, funding and bureaucratic
management of "the public welfare," manifested in welfare proper, public
healthcare, public utilities and works, etc. These are all the markers of
socialism in practice, as it exists today.

Jefferson didn't advocate any of those things, AFAICT.


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